Birth rates keep falling in China; in one mega city by 30 percent

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In Chongqing, one of China’s four directly-administered municipalities with a population of 31million, the rate of new births fell by a sharp 30 percent; in real terms, there were 68400 fewer births compared to the same period last year.

The number of births in China fell in the first six months of 2019 in both urban and rural areas, latest rounds of country-wide surveys have revealed, indicating a reluctance among couples to have a second child three years after Beijing abolished the one-child policy.

The falling birth rates differ from region to region.

In Chongqing, one of China’s four directly-administered municipalities with a population of 31million, the rate of new births fell by a sharp 30 percent; in real terms, there were 68400 fewer births compared to the same period last year.

Surveys in hospitals and communities in provinces (or states) like Shaanxi, Anhui, Sichuan and Hebei found a shrinking newborn population in the first half, with the rate of decrease ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent, state-run English newspaper, China Daily reported.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that births in China had dropped to the lowest level in nearly 60 years in 2018

More than 15 million babies were born on the Chinese mainland in 2018, a drop by about 2 million from that of 2017.

Beijing had fully revoked the one-child policy in 2016 to tackle the problems of a rapidly shrinking workforce and to prepare to look after an ageing population.

Six months later, the continuing trend of falling birth rate shows that the problem could worsen in the coming years.

Adding to the worry is the fall in the number of women aged between 15 and 49, considered the childbearing age.

“The number of women aged 15 to 49 peaked in 2011 and has been declining since then, and the fertility rate is just below 1.7,” the report quoted statistics released by the UN in June.

Many of those surveyed said that the primary factor for not wanting a second baby could be the rising cost of raising a child especially financing education.

“The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s no longer perceives having children as an essential part of their marriage, thus driving down the fertility rate,” local authorities from a county told state media, adding that those in their 30s and 40s find it difficult to balance work and their personal life and tend to discard the idea of having a second child.

“The trend revealed in regional data made public recently highlighted the need to roll out more supportive measures in addition to the universal second-child policy, including improved pregnancy care and nursery services, to encourage more births,” they added.